A drink-driver who ploughed into another vehicle, killing his friend, has been jailed for five years.
Police found whisky bottles in the cab of the van driven by Sukhdeep Gill, 36, who “dozed off” after drinking alcohol while behind the wheel, Chester Crown Court heard on Tuesday.
His Mercedes Sprinter drifted across white lines while doing 70mph and ploughed into another stationary van which had stopped on the hard shoulder of the M6 motorway in Cheshire.
Gill’s friend, Junaid Akhtar, 37, who was in the passenger seat, suffered serious injuries.
The father-of-three, from Blackburn, died in hospital seven days later.
The driver of the other van, a man from the Sheffield area, suffered whiplash and a broken collarbone.
Police called to the scene noticed that Gill smelled strongly of alcohol and found two small whisky bottles and an empty can of lager in the footwell of the van.
A breath test showed a reading of 85 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – more than twice the legal limit of 35 microgrammes.
Gill, of Beardwood Brow, Blackburn, had been working as a delivery driver, picking his van up in Preston before making deliveries in the Midlands, and was driving back north on the M6 near Knutsford in Cheshire when he crashed on the evening of August 21 2018.
He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to causing death by careless driving while under the influence of excess alcohol.
Jailing him for five years, Judge Steven Everett said: “This was not just drinking and driving, this was drinking whilst driving.
“You were tired and struggling to stay awake and yet you carried on driving whilst drinking.
“All of this was your fault, nobody else’s.”
Gill was also banned from driving for six years, beginning from the date of his release from jail after he has served half of his sentence in custody.
There was no separate sentence for drink-driving.
Lisa Judge, mitigating, told the court that Gill had been given the drinks by passenger Mr Akhtar and was not aware of the level of alcohol supplied to him.
Outside court, Pc Liz Thompson, of Cheshire Police, said: “This was a tragic but entirely preventable collision caused by Gill’s poor driving and his decision to drive while under the influence.
“Driving a motor vehicle is a privilege, not a right, and it comes with great responsibility to act within the rules laid down when you pass your test.”